We have a commercial application that uses a number of Access DBs. For security reasons we have to encrypt all the data. It's not personal data or anything, just proprietary information.
I've been thinking about MSDE instead of Access so I could stop encrypting. Since the user will only get MSDE they won't be able to get the data without our application since they won't know the user or pwd. Unless...
If they already have the full SQL Server on some other system, couldn't they just copy the MDF file from our application to that server, attach it as a new DB and have full access to it (using the admin account on the full system?)
I guess it comes down to can an MSDE database be read on a full SQL Server instance elsewhere?
The scenario you describe is correct. The users would have to stop the SQL Services (no big challenge for most folks), in order to ensure they get a nice clean copy. They can even probably access the data with the SQL tools if they are a local admin on the MSDE machine (unless you removed the BUILTIN\ADMINISTRATORS group).
You may just want to go for the full fledged version of SQL Server, and put the server in a locked server room, with no user permissions on the data and backup directories.